One For Many

by Impact Church

For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 2 Corinthians 2:9

The deadly African Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas. A crazed man jumping the fence and running down the hallways of the White House. What? How can the most sophisticated country have the simplest of admission errors to expose a population to a terrible disease? And how is the President of the leading country of the free world not protected by his most trusted people? Something is terribly wrong with a system if a single individual can wreak such havoc and threaten so many.

These real time stories reveal that very complex organizations are vulnerable to events that threaten the very essence and reasons why the organizations exist. The Presbyterian hospital system in Dallas is among the best in the country and the Secret Service has faithfully protected Presidents for generations. Yet, both organizations found that one individual tested the organization’s very purpose and organizational response.

In the passage above, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church about an individual who had tested the church’s purpose. Paul explained to the church that how they handled this person’s life was a “test” for the church. A test to determine whether the church would be obedient to the Lord in all that they do. In short: an entire church was being tested for how it responded to the actions of one individual.

The Corinthian church had been too lenient in its dealing with a member’s behavior as his first letter reveals (1 Corinthians 5:1-5). The church responded to Paul’s rebuke and now, in the second letter, he admonishes the church they were running the risk of being too stringent by not restoring the offending brother fast enough (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). This reveals how easy it is to be an extremist and how difficult and yet godly to discern the will of God.

The written exchange between Paul and a church he planted and loved reveals one of the most important principles of church life: the struggles of an individual in the church is not first a chance for the church to discern how it responds to the individual, but primarily a test for the church to learn what matters the most to the Lord.

Years ago, Edwin Lutzer wrote an incredible book addressing the issue about individual and organizational failing. “Failure: The Backdoor to Success” was a gift of grace demonstrating that a person’s failing was the beginning place for future success. The same principle applies to a church. A great church is sensitive to the individual needs of its members. Rather than simply point out what’s wrong with the behavior of the individual, a godly church looks deeply into how it operates in response to those struggles.

Impact Church seeks to be a biblical church in all of its attitudes and actions. We seek to offer biblical instruction, godly counseling, and pastoral responses to the needs of its members. Each member is treated as the most important and our response is intended to secure health and safety for all.

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